Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The O word

I hate the O word.

"Obesity". Yuck.

I had an instinctive reaction to it of nausea and anger. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, though, until I was reading Gina Kolata's book, "Rethinking Thin." I had to view the O word a couple hundred times, and it was making me more and more annoyed, so I examined the context in which it was used, especially when she was quoting anti-obesity proponents.

I realized that it's because it takes humans right out of the equation. Obesity is a "problem", an "epidemic". But, you see, chunks of fat aren't floating around out there on their own, pouncing on innocent thin people and eating them. It's not a parasite or microbe that is attacking people, either. It's a state of being.

You can have influenza without people, in a test tube. You can have arsenic and mercury in a test tube as well, with no people. "Obesity", however, does not exist separately from human beings. It is nothing more than a person having more fat tissue than some arbitrary cutoff point. You never see the panic-mongers say, "obese people" or "obese person", however. Yet, when they talk about fighting obesity, or obesity being a problem, they conveniently dehumanize the people that they're referring to.

I am a person, not an epidemic. Not a problem. Not a crisis. A person.

48 comments:

Harpy said...

That's one thing I hate, too. Just say "fat", dammit. Or "obese person", if you must.

And the same for Rethinking Thin: I was all a bit "AAAAAAAA!!" when someone was described as "grotesquely obese".

OzFugly said...

I too hate hate hate that word. People somehow think they are being 'scientific' when they use it, and are therefore not being rude. Hey, use the 'F' word; you won't catch it from using it!

I first heard *that* word used to describe me by a plastic surgeon, reporting on a scar of mine that he was going to fix for my employer's insurance company.

This was a job in which I had been gored in the stomach by a huge boar (male pig) which, since I am fat and therefore don't know how to work, must have been while sitting on the couch eating baby donuts WITH the boar).

That doctor described me as an 'obese female' in his report.

Since there was no need to mention this at all, the implication to me was that since I was fat, it wasn't very important to fix up my unsightly scar, since I was hideous anyway.

Since then I have hated the word obese, and haven't been too fond of men who refer to women as 'females' either. I have noticed it goes with a kind of snide, sneaky misogyny.

Keechypeachy

Mercurior said...

just recently i have heard a new word, its called globesity. essentially its a word to put the world in "crisis" the fear the world is getting fatter.

Anwen said...

A friend has just started the Cambridge Diet (in spite of the fact that she's been reading FA blogs and agreeing with a lot of what she's read, argh!) It's a very low calorie meal replacement diet, which supposedly isn't meant to be sold to people with eating disorders (my friend is bulimic, but in fairness, if they did ask her, she might have lied).

Anyway, on their webpage, they have a section about BMI and what you should do at various levels of BMI (it actually suggests that if you are at a 'normal' BMI but want to 'shed a few pounds' you could use their stupid diet). They categorise a BMI over 35 as 'super obese', which in principle I am offended by, but in practice I mostly think 'man, that sounds kinda cool, like a superhero name!!'

Vive42 said...

just wanted to say i LOVE this post and the insight you had on this. totally struck like five million chords, reminding me of when i was a teenager, my father using that word when he wanted to speak sternly to me about how serious a problem my weight was and the terrible health consequeces in my future.

Rick said...

Ozfugly. You got gored by a boar? Are you sure it wasn't trying to mate with you since you look like a pig?

Just a thought.

Fuck you all.

caseyatthebat said...

Wow, Rick - have you not pooped in a while? Are you not gettin' any? 'Cause making fun of a woman who suffered both a terrible injury and an asshat doctor is super-classy, dude.

Do I hear a Douchehound of the Day?

That aside, awesome post.

Oboe said...

caseyatthebat- Thank you for your concern regarding my bowel movements! As a matter of fact, I just took a long stinky dump. It looked like Kate Harding! How awesome! What's it like being obese? I wouldn't know. I'm a size 2. and that feels great!

caseyatthebat said...

Actually, Oboe / Rick/ whatever - if size 2 feels so great, why are you trolling on FA websites? I thought being skinny was supposed to mean that you have these WAY MORE AWESOME lives, right? Then WTF are you doing here?

I'm quite certain that stupid and vicious people don't actually ever really feel "great", certainly not about themselves. And every truly happy person I know, thin or fat, did't derive their happiness from their size.

Here's hoping you stay a size 2 fore a very long time, 'cause I don't think you could handle it if your body changed.

Heather said...

Nice.

oboe, what's it like being a self-loathing cunt? I wouldn't know, since I don't feel the need to wander around the innernets hiding behind the sweet, sweet blanket of anonymity.

Andee said...

You know, it's a funny thing. I doubt George Clooney is taking the time to anonymously troll FA blogs and neener about how gorgeous and buff he is and how many hot thin chicks he gets. Because he's way too busy enjoying himself to bother.

I also doubt any of our trolls is secretly Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson, or Drew Barrymore. Or even any of their assistants. Just a hunch.

Andee (Meowser)

AnnieMcPhee said...

A troll? Shiver me timbers and surprise me cunt!

As far as the words obese? Hate. I hate it. SCREW that word. Just. say. fucking. fat. Just. say. it.

You know who says "obese"? MeMemememe Roth. Doctors. Skinny people who think they'll "offend" someone. You'll only offend me if you call me obese - tell me I'm fat and I'll say "Yep, that's right." I might add "What about it?" for good measure.

"Obese" can kiss my fat ass. So can you, douchehound "Rick."

AnnieMcPhee said...

"I also doubt any of our trolls is secretly Keira Knightley, Scarlett Johansson, or Drew Barrymore. Or even any of their assistants. Just a hunch."

Ding! Ding! Ding! And meowzer wins the post of the day!

Sarah said...

Sad little trolls. No life of their own.

Oboe said...

Thank you for the well wishes. Many of you have asked why I have so much time on my hands. Well, I'm an interior designer who works from home. My successful business give me ample time to peruse the internet and make fun of fat girls. Why do I do it? It truly makes me feel better! Knowing that I'm better looking than you just lifts my spirits. I just weighed myself. 115! Suck on that you fat whores!

dinazad said...

Oh dear, dear, oboe, you poor thing! It must be terrible, really terrible to have a life so boring and empty that heckling fat people or weighing yourself is the only amusement you have and moreover the only way you can feel any self-esteem. Or get anybody at all to notice you. That's a heartbreaking condition. Were you born with it, or was it a horrific accident which made you so needy? Did you have a terrible, maiming childhood? We really shouldn't be calling you names, you poor dear. In fact, I volunteer to brighten your bereft, dreary, empty life by letting you make fun of me and my big ass! C'mon, girls and guys, we can't just stand by when such tragic lives unfold before our very eyes! Have a heart for poor, poor oboe!

Kristin said...

Wow. I came to read this post after reading Jes's guest post. Just. Wow.

Andee said...

Oboe, I don't believe a word of what you say. Not a comma. Except I believe that you do harbor an irrational hatred for fatties. That part I believe. The rest of it? No.

I have a hard time even believing you're thin, frankly (one can harbor an irrational hatred for fatties even being one of us). Or even female. And successful? Hah. Successful people do not troll. By trolling, you give yourself away immediately that your life is not one worth aspiring to.

But it's very funny, though, the idea that a grown woman would have planned out a life and career choice based solely on the opportunity to make fun of fat chicks on the Net in between clients (presumably only thin ones, because you couldn't abide any other kind). Not believable for a second, mind you, but hilarious that a woman would even have considered making that her life's goal. That's very imaginative.

Heather said...

oboe stopped her emotional development at a young age.

oboe, well-adjusted people don't need to troll the innernets looking for people to make fun of. Successful people really do have better things to do.

Think of it this way - imagine how successful your "home business" (*cough*, you're probably a SAHM who pretends to work so people think you're useful to society) would be if you took all that energy you spend "hating on teh fattiez" and used it to further yourself and your business.

It's a lot to ask for from a troll, I know, but you can at least aspire to be something better than the shit on the bottom of my shoe. It's worth a shot!

Oboe said...

"But it's very funny, though, the idea that a grown woman would have planned out a life and career choice based solely on the opportunity to make fun of fat chicks on the Net in between clients (presumably only thin ones, because you couldn't abide any other kind)."

Get over yourselves. Like I really planned out my life to maximize my trolling time. I only discovered the fatosphere last month. To think that there are thousands of obese women who've given up on looking like me is pathetic. How many of you break out in tears when you weigh yourselves? Or do you even bother to do that now that you've given up on life?
As for my clients, I don't care what size they are as long as the check clears. Although, I do get more business from the obese ones. Since they don't have the ability to change their own obese appearances, they funnel all their frustration into changing the insides of their homes.
More money for me! God bless fat women and their sense of low self-esteem.
And for the record, I'm 5'4 and 115. If you don't believe me that's ok!

FashionableNerd said...

I rarely respond to trolls. However, I have to say, Oboe, if "looking like you" means I inherit your bitter, misguided soul, I reckon I'll continue to look like me.

Actually, I'll continue to look like me because I'm spectacular--as are the other members of the fatosphere.

Heather said...

oboe's in for a surprise when the body she bases all her self-worth on grows saggy and fat starts appearing where she always thought she should never be fat. Age happens to us all, and everyone's body is different when we're 40 than when we're 20, and oboe is going to wonder where all her self-esteem went and why she suddenly has nothing left that she can be proud of, since she spent all her free time while she was thin being a cunt to people who looked different from her.

Age is a cruel mistress. When I'm 40, and still fat, I'm gonna have a whole lot more to be proud of, like my hobbies, which don't involve slagging on other people for being different, or my talents, which don't require my putting anyone else down to elevate myself, not to mention my self-esteem, which has more to do with actual self than appearance.

You can keep up your "5'4 115 pound" mantra, oboe, and think you're hot shit. Seriously, the rest of us just pity you.

Oboe said...

I'll put my happiness at age 40 up against yours anytime ladies. That's even if you make it to 40.

Isn't it snack time? Time for another quart of ice cream.

Me, I'll go for a walk.

Heather said...

I'll pit my happiness now against yours, oboe. I don't feel the need to tell people that my physical attributes make me better or worse than anyone else. It's what's inside that counts and you're showing your "ugly side" in spades.

I don't remember the last time I ate ice cream. I, too, take walks, as I work right next to a set of waterways with beautiful winding paths, and flora and fauna to marvel at. The same creator that made those silly waddling ducks, made those long-necked egrets, too, and we are not judging them for their appearances. ("YOU THERE! YOU DUCKS! WADDLE LESS, I COMMAND IT!")

You boast about your supreme happiness in being 115 pounds. I base my happiness in things that are less, shall we say, fickle.

I still pity you.

Mercurior said...

oboe, i wonder what your partner/hubbie/girlfriend say to your fat hatred comments. (that is if you have one)

You are in my opinion suffering from a inferiority complex, you have to put everyone else down to make your life seem better.

You have no empathy for your fellow being, as evidenced by your constant comments.

You have a very bad problem, and i hope that some of your "fat" clients find out about your comments, and decide to take their business elsewhere.

I am fat, i am proud to be fat. i would rather live to be 40, but have fun for those years, that to live to 60 and be miserable and as pathetic as you oboe.

And you will gain weight as everyone does as they grow older, you will develop a self hatred that will put you onto more pills, more drugs, surgery to capture that lost size. and then when you are more fake than real, you will die alone.

at least i have experienced life, if i died tomorrow i wouldnt be upset, i had my fun.. and i am happy and content. eat drink be merry for tomorrow we die. As we all will die one day.

Its not how long we live its what we do in that time. I think these ladies are wonderful, smart, and beautiful, whereas you are a bitter stupid crone oboe.

Sparrow said...

Ladies, as a thin 50 year old who has nothing but respect for women who are Proud of Themselves - no matter what size they are - because each and every one of you is a Goddess, I say to just ignore Oboe. She's not worth your time and effort. Let the little flea die in silence.

Sparrow

Heather said...

That's my Sparrow, the voice of reason and dignity at all points. Speaking of goddesses. :)

I have one thing left, a link:

KateHarding.net: Troll Psychology.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Beautifully said, Sparrow :)

Heather, I know you were arguing with an asshat, but I just felt a bit of a nasty sting when you said that thing about SAHMs. I was a SAHM, I did definitely have plenty of work to do, and it was of use to society - I even homeschooled, and have two very intelligent adult children to show for it. I'm sure you didn't mean anything by it, but...well I felt that one.

Angry Grrl said...

A troll, and not even a high-class one. Oboe honey, the "Sucks to be you!" commentary is so middle school... why don't you go back to sticking a finger down your throat until you can come up with something witty?

Heather said...

Annie McPhee, another friend of mine gently did the same. I appreciate the reminder.

I, like Rio, am childfree. There are lots of hard-working women, period, out there. Oboe's not one of them, unless you count the steadfast trolling even in the face of being just plain completely wrong.

Oboe trumpets her "home business" as an "interior designer", and all I can think of is a self-loathing woman in front of HGTV and a laptop.

Heather said...

And what good is a useful apology without: I'm sorry for offending anyone. (I was home-schooled, too.)

AnnieMcPhee said...

That's ok, Heather - to be brutally honest she probably IS a fat housewife who's angry about something else or just likes to rant and rave - it could be due to anything - chronic pain, an abusive spouse, etc. I've seen all these people and more do trolling, and once I got to know them that was what was at bottom of it. I'll go with the pity for now, I suppose, though it could just be an angry teenage lonely nutjob boy as well - in which case he'll lose interest soon enough. Probably.

Sarah said...

Oboe, such an ugly soul.

Oh, and Oboe? I WEIGH 300 POUNDS AND I LOVE MYSELF.

Suck on that, bitch.

Oboe said...

"fat housewife with a laptop" But isn't that your audience? Sadly, I'm neither fat or a self-hating fattie. I'll leave those traits to those who read these blogs.

Sarah? You're 300 lbs and love yourself? Good for you. Now try convincing every American male to love you too. WOW, YOU'RE 100 AND 85 POUNDS HEAVIER THAN I AM! That's great. Congratulations! I'm off to the Poconos for the weekend! Ta, ta!

Mercurior said...

i am a male, and i find the larger women, so sexy, they are far far more sensual that most women.

but thats my preference. there are many men who prefer curves to bones. so your sexist argument doesnt hold water. you fat phobic comments show you to be shallow. and as such, your not worth my effort.

To all the big ladies here, there are men who appreciate you. and love your curves. dont let oboe make you upset they arent worth it.

to me curves are kickin'..

(i married my curvy gal)

Oboe said...

Mercurior. I'm the kind of girl who didn't talk to you in high school. And for good reason. The reason you married your "curvy gal" is that you didn't have any other options.
You settled for the fat girl. Plain and simple.

signed, the Prom Queen. Class of 98!

AnnieMcPhee said...

There's a good man, Mercurior :) A lot of men prefer curves at the least (Marilyn Monroe or Ann Margaret anyone? They sure as hell weren't 115 lbs of skin and bone) and plenty love fat women too. Some tend to fall in love with a *person* - regardless of that person's looks. Ever see "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"? At the end he says "Don't you know how when you love someone, they start to look more beautiful to you, whereas if you dislike someone, they might be beautiful but to you they look ugly." Something like that. That's how it works :)

Mercurior said...

apart from several things, one i am not american so no high school, 2 went to an all boys school so no prom

and 3, i wouldnt have wanted to speak to you oboe. so no loss there.

aww shucks annie, (i am british she is american, so how is that settling. when if i want i could have a choice of over 30 million in the UK minus the married and others).

i wonder if oboe is alone, she seems to be focused on herself, and that usually precludes attachments.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Mercurior, when I was very ill, in grave pain, and found the internet (and was quite immobile and unable to do much else) I would sometimes unleash anger on the internet as well. I was happily married with two wonderful children (whose homeschooling needed attending to but that still left many hours in the day with little to do) but hell, I needed to rant and rave a bit. I did not resort to trolling (though when in my cups I'd say things I'd later apologize for.) But I did engage in many heated arguments. I dunno - maybe oboe is seriously in some kind of pain - physical or emotional. If so, he/she might remain if he/she finds a bit of kindness. If so, he/she might move on to another target. If not, and it's just some 20 year old guy with no job and no life, he'll lose interest in this one soon enough and move on anyway. Probably. Either way, it's probably pretty sad. Happy people...well they just don't do that stuff, do they? I could be wrong - there've been so few uninterrupted places of happiness in my life - but I suppose even during them I might have enjoyed a good row. But this isn't presenting as some sort of good row - it's just schoolyard taunting, and it might indeed be rooted in much suffering. Who knows.

As to what you said that you wouldn't have wanted to talk to her anyway so no loss? That made me laugh. Thank you :)

AnnieMcPhee said...

Lastly, might I thank Rio for allowing the comments to stand from oboe? I just...well I sort of feel sorry for it. We can handle it - we have each other and a wonderful acceptance movement. A little jerk-off now and again isn't going to kill us. Naturally many comments need to be deleted and not allowed, but once in a while...well...it might be worth it in the end.

Oboe said...

Mercurior? You went to an all-boys school? That explains so much. If we had gone to the same school
I know you wouldn't have talked to a girl like me. You wouldn't have had the balls to talk me. Maybe, just maybe you might have attempted a meek hello in the hallway. But of course, I'd totally ignore you. Life's cruel.

AnnieMcphee. I'm sorry you spent so much time bed-ridden with all your physical ailments. Is that when you began to gain weight? I'm in perfect health. So is the rest of my family. At least I know that my lifestlye isn't being passed down to my children. Your children however will probably become as unhealthy as you are. You're a terrible role model.

RioIriri said...

You know what Oboe? I'm going to delete further comments. I just had to euthanize a foster cat because it has feline leukemia, and I'm not in the fucking mood for your hateful bullshit anymore.

Fuck off and die, please. Thanks.

Heather said...

Wow. Anyone who trumpets their superiority from high school has a serious narcissistic complex. Cluephone for Oboe: The rest of us moved on and now have, I guarantee, better jobs and lives than you, because our lives aren't filled with hate and superiority. I am happy in my skin. I doubt you could come up with one reason to "flame" me for it that didn't say more about yourself than about your subject.

And yes, thank you Rio, for letting us have such delightful toys to sharpen our claws on. Sometimes we like a little troll to bat around.

I am sorry about Pretty Lady, though. I am glad that your life (and her last days) are full of love and light and laughter.

AnnieMcPhee said...

I'm so sorry about your cat, Rio. I know how that hurts, and that even when you end up with a new kitten or cat, and love them to death, it's never the same thing. I agree with your decision to delete further comments, for what it's worth.

Oboe, my children are thin - well my son is muscular and built and a black belt (hey, he has as much to brag about as you eh? {rolleyes} And you know, I *still* don't believe you for a minute - happy people do not spend their time trolling - having a row with someone is one thing, venting and raging a bit is one thing, but trolling? This kind of silly trolling? Please. That's not the activity of a normal, healthy person.

You gave it away with that last comment - first the faux "Oh sorry you were so sick" (through no fault of my own) and then end with my children will be sick like me and I'm a terrible role model? What a slimy creature you really are. Low and slimy and slithering on the ground leaving trails, like a slug.

That is all. I hope you get help for whatever mental problems you obviously have, or whatever in your life is causing you such immense grief, but I agree with Rio that at this point that's your tough luck, either way and need have nothing to do with the good people here.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Heather - you're so right about the high school thing. Jeez, high school was 25 years ago, I've like, lived a LIFE since then - raised children, been married 19 years, lived through the grief of losing family members, buying a house, improved my skills both with creative activities and on the job - I have a job I quite enjoy and am spoken of quite highly there as well. So it's like...er, what's all this nonsense about high school? Who the hell cares? Anyway, like Stephen King said, he doesn't trust people who talk of high school in glowing terms. At any rate, if they have nothing beyond that to talk about, nothing but the past to be happy about, they're in pretty damn sad shape.

Oboe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AnnieMcPhee said...

No one believes it, oboe. Not a word. Buh-bye.

AnnieMcPhee said...

Er-sorry, I responded to it when you said you were deleting. Please go ahead and delete mine too, Rio. Both of these.